PPRC photo exhibit focuses on Normandy School District

"Commitment Statement: Eddiesha Turner" by Tristian Montgomery, part of the latest PPRC Photo Project exhibit at UMSL

“Commitment Statement: Eddiesha Turner” by Tristian Montgomery is part of the latest PPRC Photo Project exhibit at UMSL.

Past and present students of the Normandy (Mo.) School District are both the subjects and photographers for a new University of Missouri–St. Louis exhibit. Participants included Normandy High School alumni and current students at schools in the Normandy district. Their photos resulted in an exhibit that is the latest in the Public Policy Research Center Photography Project series. 

Mel Watkin, director of the PPRC Photography Project at UMSL, pointed out that the school district is home to many dedicated teachers, students, staff and alumni. And the school district is working hard to regain its accreditation, she said.

“The media often focuses on Normandy’s problems, which tend to overshadow its accomplishments; this is discouraging for all involved,” Watkin said. “To offset this negativity, the goal of the ‘Normandy Proud’ photography project was twofold: to connect accomplished Normandy staff and alumni with youth currently in the school system and to give the people of Normandy a chance to reflect positively on their community.”

Lois Ingrum, a photography project instructor and NHS alumna (1976), trained Normandy students and alumni in digital photography and interview techniques. The participants then photographed and interviewed each other in a series of sessions.

The sessions resulted in the exhibit “PPRC Photography Project: Youth and Alumni – Normandy Proud!” is on display May 14 to Sept. 9 at the PPRC Photography Project Gallery, south end of the fourth floor hallway in the Social Sciences & Business Building at UMSL, 1 University Blvd. in St. Louis County (63121). Gallery hours are from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. An opening reception will be from noon to 1 p.m. May 14 at the gallery. 

A duplicate of the exhibit is on display May 14 to June 29 at the Natural Bridge Branch of the St. Louis County Library, 7606 Natural Bridge Road in Normandy, Mo. The exhibit can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. An opening reception will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 14 at the library.

Admission to both exhibits is free. 

The pioneering community photography programs established by artist and teacher Wendy Ewald serve as the model for the PPRC Photography Project. Several volunteer St. Louis-area community groups participate in the PPRC Photography Project each year. They learn the basics of photography and then are asked to document efforts to improve their neighborhood’s quality of life. 

The Public Policy Research Center’s goal for the project is twofold: to highlight the undertakings of local organizations working toward the greater good and to inspire people to take a closer look at and get involved with their communities.

The Photography Project is co-sponsored by the Public Policy Research Center at UMSL, Missouri Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts and Regional Arts Commission.


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